Mental health articles will be a mixture of the technical and the personal.
I want to provide information and certainly hope for the folks who find this page, and there will be room for you to include your questions, thoughts, and experiences. Please understand that I cannot diagnose or refer from a web page. That said, let's get some definitions out of the way.
And remember that human knowledge is doubling at an incredible pace. I am making every effort to provide you with the most recent information available to me.
"Clinical mental health counseling is the provision of professional counseling services including the application of principles of psychotherapy, human development, learning theory, group dynamics, and the etiology of mental illness and dysfunctional behavior to individuals, couples, families, and groups for the purposes of promoting optional mental health, dealing with normal problems of living, and treating psychopathology. " (AMHCA, 1999)
Examples of dysfunctions requiring a mental health counselor's skills for diagnosis and referral or treatment are addictions and substance abuse, family problems, parenting and marriage conflicts, stress management, depression and suicidal ideation, career concerns, issues related to aging, and problems with self-esteem.
Mental Health Counselor
Counselors collect information through interviews, observations and tests, and decide how best to help clients. A mental health counselor may counsel individually, with couples or families, or in group sessions of people with similar problems. They work closely with other mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, school counselors, marriage and family therapists, and psychiatric nurses. Persons interested in counseling should have a strong interest in helping others and the ability to inspire trust, confidence, and respect.
Areas of Specialization Mental health counselors may specialize in a particular area, such as career counseling, substance abuse, marriage counseling, or with a particular age group.
Work Environment Most mental health counselors work in private practice, hospitals, counseling centers, partial hospitalization programs, group practices, corporations, HMOs, and government agencies. Surroundings are generally comfortable and pleasant. A 40-hour work week is standard with evenings and weekends available for the convenience of clients.
Advancement With additional experience and training mental health counselors may advance to supervisory or management positions.
Length of Training/Requirements A master's degree in mental health counseling, community counseling, or psychology is the minimal entry level. Course work includes human development, psychopathology, counseling and personality theories, legal and ethical issues, multiculturalism or diversity, sexuality, substance abuse, research, counseling skills, group work, career counseling, assessment, and practicum.
Licensure/Certification Varies by state, as does reciprocity. Please see your state's Department of Professional Regulation for clarification.
OK, having laid out some definition, we can look at some information about specialties and treatment models.
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When I was beginning my personal growth journey, a wise person told me that when I was feeling resentful or afraid or sad, that I should remember the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was ready to feel better. That phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
Would you share what you are most grateful for? Your story could be just what another person is searching for to renew themselves? Thanks.
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